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Nov 29 2012   9:01PM GMT

no doubt vs. no question

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
The judge said that he was sentencing the defendant to three years in prison because there was __________ that he was guilty.
a. no doubt
b. no question

Answer: a

Explanation: 
In the U.S., these terms are often used interchangeably to mean “no doubt.”

Elsewhere, however “no question that” is usually taken to mean the opposite. If you say there’s no question that someone acted inappropriately, in most parts of the English-speaking word it’s equivalent to saying they acted appropriately.

That being the case, it’s probably best to avoid “no question that” or “no question of,” to avoid ambiguity.

No doubt vs. no question is one of the entries Richard Nordquist shares from the Guardian Style Guide.

Follow me on Twitter @tao_of_grammar

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